Morocco is the largest recipient of European Union (EU) funds in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Association Agreement, which entered into force in 2000, represents the legal basis for EU-Morocco relations. With the launch of the ENP in 2004, Morocco gradually became a privileged partner of the EU in the field of political and economic cooperation as well as trade and technical and development cooperation.
The EU - Morocco relationship is based on a mutual commitment to promote common values and is implemented through a mutually agreed ENP Action Plan which defines a series of social, economic and political reforms with short- and medium-term priorities.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is the key EU financial instrument for EU cooperation with Morocco for the period 2014-2020. Other funding sources in addition to the ENI are thematic cooperation programmes – for example on human rights, environment or civil society.
EU assistance to Morocco takes mainly the form of country Annual Action Programmes funded every year under the ENI. In addition, Morocco also benefits from regional and Neighbourhood-wide cooperation programmes funded under the ENI.
Morocco also benefits from funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. This Trust Fund support to the North of Africa area is managed by the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
For 2014-2017, EU's bilateral assistance to Morocco under the ENI may range between a minimum allocation of €728 million and a maximum allocation of €890 million. These figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country’s needs and progress in implementing its national reform agenda.
During this period, the EU's bilateral assistance to Morocco will focus mainly on three priority sectors:
- Equitable access to social services;
- Democratic governance, the rule of law and mobility;
- Employment and sustainable and inclusive growth.
Complementary support for capacity development and civil society can also be provided outside these priority sectors.
Key objectives, results and indicative financial allocations are outlined in the Single Support Framework (SSF) 2014 – 2017.
In 2014, EU bilateral assistance under the ENI amounted to €218 million. This assistance aimed to support reforms in the health (€90 million) and justice (€70 million) sectors and the construction of a solar power plant (€38 million). Moreover, two loans, each of €10 million, were provided to support the green energy sector.
In 2015, EU bilateral assistance under the ENI amounts to €180 million and supported the reform of the penitentiary system (€5 million), the reform of the vocational training system (€45 million) as well as the Government’s endeavor to boost the country’s economic growth and competitiveness (€100 million, complemented by €30 million under the NIF).
The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument
For the period 2007 - 2013, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) was the main EU financial instrument to fund cooperation programmes with the Neighbourhood partner countries (including Morocco). Financial commitments under the ENPI for EU – Morocco cooperation amounted to 1.3 billion euros for 2007 – 2013. The ENPI has been replaced by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) for the current financing period (2014 – 2020).
- supporting the establishment and development of social policies
- supporting economic modernisation
- institutional support
- supporting good governance and human rights
- ensuring environment protection.
Morocco is also befitting largely from twinning programmes in various sectors, which promote regulatory convergence and capacity buuilding through support provided by experts from Member States' to partner country Ministries.
In addition to ENI bilateral cooperation programmes, Morocco also benefits from financing under ENI regional and neighbourhood-wide cooperation programmes.
Other Budget lines
In addition to the ENI cooperation programmes, Morocco also receives additional funding under several other thematic programmes and instruments, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (€1.9 million in 2015) or the thematic programme for Civil Society and Local Authorities (€0.76 million in 2015). In the area of higher education, Morocco also benefits from the Erasmus+ programme which has been launched in 2014.